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J Neurochem. 1995 Dec;65(6):2585-93.

Suppression of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase, a primary target of beta-amyloid, and its derivative racemized at Ser residue.

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Neuroscience Research Laboratories, Sankyo Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.


beta-Amyloid cores contain considerable amounts of D-Ser and D-Asp residues in Alzheimer's disease. We investigated the cytotoxic effects of various synthetic beta-amyloids, including D-Ser-substituted derivatives, on primary cultured neurons and nonneuronal HeLa cells. beta 25-35, its D-Ser26-substituted derivative, and beta 1-40 in 10-100 nM specifically suppressed mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase activity [MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyltetrazolium bromide] reduction] in HeLa cells, which are dependent on ATP production mainly from glycolysis, but did not exert detectable cytotoxicity, assessed by dye exclusion test, NADH levels, and uptake of [3H]Leu and [3H]Tdr. The beta-amyloids, on the other hand, did exert neurodegenerative effects on rat hippocampal cultured neurons in which ATP is mostly synthesized by the mitochondrion. The activities of beta 25-35 and [D-Ser26] beta 25-35 are dependent on their having beta-structures and not random forms. Although beta 25-35 was degraded rapidly by proteinase(s) in brain extract or leucine aminopeptidase, [D-Ser26] beta 25-35 is fairly resistant. These results indicate that one of the primary targets of beta-amyloids is suppression of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase, and the vulnerability of the brain of beta-amyloids can be explained by its large dependence on mitochondrial energy production. Moreover, racemization of serine residues of beta-amyloids may be involved in neurodegeneration and formation of senile plaques through escaping from the degradation process by brain proteinases.

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